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Capital Life: What's on in Canberra's arts scene from January 23

Shutters open on new year

It's still school holidays, and not everyone's back at work, but the scene is slowly picking itself up as January marches onwards. Time waits for no one!

PhotoAccess in Manuka is preparing to open two new shows next week – In Sequence, its members' exhibition, examining "the notion of sequence and narrative" in photography, and Taken Spaces, with new works by Melbourne-based photo-media artists Leela Schauble​ and Madeline Bishop. This exhibition looks at "alternative representations of existence and experience, focusing on uninhabitable environments and the trace of human presence despite the visual absence of people". In Sequence and Taken Spaces open January 28 at PhotoAccess, Manuka Arts Centre, Cnr Manuka Circle and NSW Crescent (next to Manuka Pool), Griffith, and run until February 21.

PhotoAccess has also recently announced the recipient of its inaugural Double Exposure residency program, mid-career artist Laura Hindmarsh. The residency is produced in partnership with Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, and funded by the ACT Government's 2016 Arts Residencies ACT Program.  Hindmarsh, who lives and works between London, UK, and Hobart, Tasmania, will have the chance to make and exhibit new work in Canberra, across the disciplines of drawing, video, performance and 16mm film.

And finally – new year, new job? PhotoAccess is on the hunt for a new Program Manager to join the team. The role involves managing the delivery of programs including education, exhibitions, artist residencies and community projects. Applications close February 2, 2016. For more information, visit

Plucked in Belconnen


Each year, the Belco Community Centre select ANU School of Art graduates from one department to put together a group show, as part of its contribution to the school's Emerging Artist Support Scheme. This year, the panel was taken by the creative use of textiles by Francesca Bleeker​ and Tundi-Rose Hammond: "These artists both used medium to creature other-worldly creatures that come to life, (especially in Hammonds accompanying animations) and fill the space they inhabit with intrigue and wonder." Plucked – Textile works by Francesca Bleeker and Tundi-Rose Hammond is showing at Belconnen Community Centre, Swanson Court, Belconnen, until February 5.  

Macabre satire

If you find yourself feeling a little downcast after perusing the very fine Sideshow Alley at the National Portrait Gallery next Friday night, stick around for a free show by Canberra's loveable cabaret duo Shortis & Simpson, exploring society's morbid fascination with death and crims: "John Shortis​, with his usual rigour (rigor Shortis), has dug up songs of convicts and pickpockets, murderers and mayhem that have laid buried in libraries and Archives for years. And he has given birth to brand new original songs of terror and torture," says the guff. "Moya​ Simpson, with her flair for comedy and versatile singing has exhumed music hall gems that relive the humour and tunefulness of the time, and has breathed life into folk songs of convicts and bushrangers." Shortis & Simpson will be performing Songs to Die For at the National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes, on January 29, 6.00pm and 7.00pm. No bookings required.

Letter Ess in the city

Typography and book design teacher Caren Florance has a new show on at CCAS in the city – a meditation on wood, paper, typography, drawing and print. Often working under the imprint Ampersand Duck, Florance is "an artist whose work focuses on the book and the printed word, using traditional letterpress and bookbinding processes along with more contemporary technologies". Letter Ess, by Caren Florance, is showing at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Corner of Hobart Place and London Circuit, until February 27.

Colour Code

Over at CCAS in Manuka, Dierdre Pearce has been exploring objects made using synthetic chemistry, and has been "struck by the way that working with forms that the artist can neither touch nor see becomes a performative and imaginative experience. Pearce makes an object by performing a series of pre-defined actions and instead of direct observation, builds the object in her mind by interpreting the traces it leaves in space under pre-defined conditions". Her resulting exhibition includes drawings, objects and prints. Colour Code, by Dierdre​ Pearce, is showing at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 19 Furneaux Street, Manuka, until January 31.

Sojourns at M16

M16 is setting a very busy year rolling with the first three of 45 shows lined up. In Sojourns, five established artists consider the "sojourn" – the notion of pausing on a journey – as an anchor for a series of di verse works. Canberra painter Kerry Shepherdson is showing Bird in Paradise, exploring paradise "in an avian context with colour and abstraction". And in Raintrees guards and buai: A keyhole view of Touaguba Hill, Australian artist and aid worker Prudence Borthwick presents lino-cut prints of scenes from Port Moresby. Sojourns, by Suzie Bleach​, Andrew Townsend, John Gould, Bernard Hardy and Robyn Kinsela​; Birds in Paradise, by Kerry Shepherdson; and Raintrees, guards and buai: A keyhole view of Touaguba Hill, by Prudence Borthwick, are showing at M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, until February 7.

Studio Road at Strathnairn

Strathnairn has two shows opening next week – an exhibition by emerging artist Richilde Flavell, with "site responsive works developed during her residency at Strathnairn Arts Centre. Studio Road is an exploration of viewpoints and perspective, incidental marks made through process, and the nostalgic longing evoked by landscapes". And 2015 Young Archie winner Harriet Mitchell is showing a collection of paintings. Studio Road, by Richilde Flavell, and Paintings by Harriet Mitchell open at Strathnairn Arts, 90 Stockdill Drive, Holt, on January 28 and run until February 21.